Caroline Sumners Empower Academic Coaching
Shining a spotlight on gaps and opportunities and leveling up her pricing and offers to match the passion she had for serving the parents and students in her community.
How the CEO of Empower Academic Coaching, Caroline Sumners, did it.
Hello! I'm Caroline Sumners
Caroline Sumners is the CEO and Founder of Empower Academic Coaching, helping middle and high school students reconnect to the joy of learning and repair their relationship with school so they can have peaceful relationships with their families.
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“We were in the same business community, both as members, but I noticed that you really showed up in that community and were really generous with your expertise. You weren’t being paid in any way. You just wanted to help help people and get them on the right path.
And I really noticed that and kept it in mind at the time. I knew you as someone who specialized in sales and at the time I really felt like I had honed my sales skills. So didn’t really think about reaching out.
But when I saw you also speak about how you’re a pricing expert, then I knew that I wanted to reach out. And honestly, you just have such a good energy. Like people should just know you and get connected with you.”
When we met, Caroline hadn’t been getting paid what she deserved. Her pricing was off compared to the time and value she and her team were providing to their clients.
She was positioned as a tutor, but was really providing a very holistic, comprehensive, all-encompassing kind of offer that is growing young adults into healthy adults and putting them in college. It’s way bigger than just helping them with homework and keeping them on track with their studies.
“When I started this work, even though I technically called it a business, let’s be real, I was acting like a freelancer. That’s how I got started.
I had my hourly rate. I was the only person in the company. But, I recognized that kids need a lot of help with school with all of the disruptions that have happened over the past couple of years. Kids’ confidence has really taken a hit. There were so many families who were reaching out for support that I began hiring people, which I’ve loved doing.
But I began to do what women and educators are trained to do, and I postponed taking care of myself, paying myself what I needed to, and diverted the funds to my team.”
Caroline made the difficult decision and invested in coaching with Natalie Bullen that gave her some clarity on her business.
“I realized that all those messages I had received as a teacher about how I should be doing this for free or for a low price, and that I should really be doing my work completely in service of others. That situation was starting to play out in my business.
I really needed to talk to someone who could remind me there’s nothing bad with having a flourishing business.”
Caroline's Journey & Breakthroughs
A big breakthrough for Caroline was realizing that if you want to keep helping people, you gotta stay in business first. And you can’t do that if you run outta money.
For so many women putting the money first feels very uncomfortable. It’s such a normal feeling, but so important to know that you can care about money AND the people you serve with your business!
“I booked a VIP day with Natalie, and showed up with a team member ready to do the work.
It forced me to realize that it was okay to need help despite being successful. I already had dozens of clients, a presence in the Atlanta area, and four co-coach on staff on salary, getting competitive salaries. ”
There’s this big misconception that high achievers don’t need help.
Or that if you’re already doing $200, $300, $400 K in revenue that you don’t need help and that all of your problems are solved.
I see high achievers, I know what it’s like to be an A student and a B student and not get any attention from the teacher ’cause they think you don’t need it and you still feel like something is missing. So I just wanna shout out to the success that Caroline was already having and segue into some of the strategies and tips that actually move the needle.
“Natalie had some amazing strategies for me. There are too many to name, but there were three that immediately came to mind for me.
One was that Natalie really helped me get clear on my pricing. I essentially hadn’t really come at pricing from the right perspective for a business. I had brought my freelancer attitude about pricing where I was thinking what’s my hourly rate and let me multiply that out by the number of hours, and then let’s just mix and repeat for my team members.
That’s not actually how you can operate in a business. You really have to go backwards: what’s the revenue that we need to have a flourishing business, and then how can the pricing support that.
Natalie’s approach to pricing really resonated with me because there are so many people in this online business space who will just throw out, ‘oh, just double your prices without knowing what the price is.’ ”
In terms of the changes Caroline made to her business, she’s raised her rates 30% to align with the great service experience her clients are getting already, and the skilled team members who provided that service daily with passion.
Those foundational elements set the stage for a price increase.
“My team has done such a great job of taking care of our clients and the clients saw it as well and were happy to sign up and renew for another year.”
“Natalie also helped me to take my existing knowledge and package it into something new that my clients would already want, and she helped me formalize it. We created a specific program for rising seniors to work on their college applications.”
Then we created a guide for if your student needs help with creating their college list, here’s some activities you can choose from. If your student needs help with writing their essay, here’s a flow that we recommend. And the students have been loving it.
on her personal life:
"I'm able to still live according to my values, but also have a flourishing business that can keep supporting our clients, keep supporting my team and support myself."
on her business life:
“January to May we doubled the cash collected in gross revenue.
I’ve been able to incorporate what we worked on in a VIP day over the following months.
Now I have a solid foundation and I know I’m gonna be able to continue implementing those things so that my business can be on a really solid trajectory.”
Meet Your Sales Consultant
I’ve been around the block when it comes to money. I am a former brokerage associate for a Fortune 100 Financial Institution. I have a BS in business management and an MBA that my mama is happy to brag to you about.
I’ve also spent time as a financial literacy educator, small business advocate, and credit educator before pivoting out of the financial industry and moving into growing small businesses.
I’ve taken over 3000 sales calls in corporate America, mostly selling stuff I hated to people who didn’t want it. Now, I have a 65% close rate and only extend offers to great-fit clients who respect me, are problem aware, and ready to do the work. I can show you how to do the same.
My directness is my second-best quality. I’m not here to coddle you. So if you’re not afraid of some firm but fair love as you learn how to grow your revenue sustainably, I’m your girl.